Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The Wonder That Is Potty Training

Today I gave up on a weeks attempt of potty training J. You'd have to see me to get the full picture of why I have given up. The extra grey hairs and facial tics give it away, as does the manic gleam in my eyes. It was not fun. My usually very supportive Husband has been practically skipping out the door to work, happy to leave me knee deep in wet pants. It started off rather fun - J and I toddled off to the supermarket to buy his first big boy pants. On the way in he spotted a Bob the Builder car ride, which I promised him a go on when we had made our purchase. I suggested that Bob the Builder would probably like to see his new pants. I got to indulge my rather sadistic sense of humour as we reached the till and J told everyone within earshot he was going to show Bob his pants, by not clarifying what he meant when I got perplexed looks from them. Fun.

It all went downhill from there though. J and I seemed to have been at cross purposes this week. We've been talking to each other, but most definitely having two very separate conversations. It has been going a little something like this;

Me: J, do you need a wee?
J: No mummy. (Translation - yes mummy, but I'm going to wait until you've turned your back and squat behind the TV).

Me: J, you've been sat on the potty for a while now, have you done anything?
J: Yes mummy. (Translation - no I haven't, I've been saving up a tsunami of wee, which I will unleash as soon as you are trying to feed/change M, answer the phone or the door, so you are completely powerless to do anything about it).

Me: I'm just going to put M down for a nap. Do you need a wee?
J: No Mummy. I sit on my potty though.
Mummy leaves J alone downstairs.
J: I done a wee Mummy!
Me: I'm coming! LEAVE THE POTTY ALONE! I'm coming downstairs right now!
J: (Triumphant smile) I put it in the toilet for you mummy. (Translation - I have picked up the full potty and flung it around the room).
Me: Gosh! What a clever boy! (Translation - there is wee every-sodding-where! It's on the dog for pete's sake! Now what the hell do I do? This is sodding ridiculous!)
J: Is that a happy face mummy?

And so on. It was give up, or have a nervous breakdown. We will try again in a few months. When I've snuck off to the beach in Spain and left Husband to it. I wish.

Monday, 20 May 2013

A New Beginning

I am pleased to say that I got a lovely new job this week. It's very sad to be leaving my old one, which I loved, but marks an exciting new chapter in my life. As it does for J. I can't quite believe that the time has come for my baby to start playgroup, and that he is grown up enough to spend time away from his family in September. He will go for the two days i am at work. I am excited for him, and very nervous. I am not nervous, however, about him settling in. J is not a Mummy's boy by any stretch of the imagination. When trying to extract him from the park the other day I tried the traditional "ok, bye! Mummy and M are going home now" and walked to the gate. He called bye back and ran off to carry on playing. When he noticed I was waiting the other side of the gate, he yelled "what you doing mummy? Why aren't you at home?". Cue sniggering from the other mums at my completely ineffectual parenting technique. He will be absolutely fine when he starts. What I am actually nervous about is what he will be like when he gets there. Now, my beautiful son is lovely. He is funny, sunny and friendly. He loves both adults and children. But I am under no illusions. He is no angel. I can't possibly list all the the things he has done in the past year or so that cause my palms to go a bit sweaty when I think about unleashing him on the poor unsuspecting playgroup staff, but I'll give it a go.
1: At the stay and play at our village school, he escaped so many times that when he appeared he got greeted by a cheery "oh look, J is here, lets shut all the fire escapes and block off the kitchen!" - cue staff scurrying around madly to 'J proof' the room.
2: During one of those escapes, he wandered his way into a classroom and merrily joined in with a science lesson with a bunch of seven year olds, until his red faced mummy worked out where he was. The shame.
3: At the same stay and play, he worked out that he could stand on a stool to tip over the jugs of water. If I tried to mop it up discreetly he would jump up and down in the puddle and shout "uh oh mummy!" at the top of his lungs.
4: At the same stay and play he presented me on several occasions with a pile of nappies, wipes and drinks bottles he had pilfered from other people's changing bags, a triumphant smile on his face.
We haven't been back there since M was born. I can't think why. We do go to a few other village groups though. He managed to cram himself into a plastic highchair designed for a small doll at one of them last Thursday, then tried to make a passing toddler feed him plastic food. He couldn't understand why she wasn't complying and was just looking at him gone out. The very patient and lovely leader had to come up and tell me my errant toddler was jammed in a toy highchair, cue more blushes from me, as I was chatting with my friends and had no idea.
I'm wondering how I will explain to the staff that anything they own with four wheels also has to have a farmer to drive it. J will not take no for an answer. The toy fire engine must have a toy farmer to drive it and if there isn't one, or the proffered toy person is not farmer-esque enough, all hell breaks loose. Or that J loves to sing so much he's made up his own words to pretty much every song, which will get belted out at singing time, drowning out any other poor child's attempts.
Reading all that back, I have a plan for September.
Drop him off and run.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

My Alter Ego

I used to love shopping for clothes. I could happily spend hours browsing shops and trying things on. And then I had two children. 
My lovely mum gave me some money for my birthday this year, to buy myself some clothes, the first time I've bought anything that isn't from the maternity section since 2009. This is because she is embarrassed to be seen with her daughter looking like a bag lady a wonderful person. So we optimistically skipped in to town earlier this week, starting with me plonking the boys and mum in the toy section of John Lewis so J could drive a Little Tikes car into everyone's ankles and a teething M could slobber over everything in sight.
It is from this point onwards that I discovered that shopping turns me into Rhod Gilbert. Absolutely everything and everyone made me cross, from my new perspective as a curvy in all the wrong places busy mum of two.
I had a voucher to use in Topshop, and had a lot of fun trying to find something to buy when I couldn't hear myself think over the obscenely loud music. I actually commented on it to the girl next to me, who looked at the elderly crazy lady mumbling to her, aghast, which meant I had to start singing to the music to prove I was young and supposed to be there, except it was so sodding loud I had to shout, which helped the whole situation marvellously. I slunk out and mooched into Zara, where I intended to use my imagination and copy the entire outfit of my brothers lovely girlfriend who visited the other day. I couldn't get my usual size of trousers over my thighs, and when I did wrestle myself into an outfit, I looked ridiculous. I would love to say that my muffin tops are a gentle reminder of the amazing thing my body did by producing two beautiful boys, but really they are just gross, and not for public viewing. I did however, manage to find a couple of tops, and joined the line of svelt muffin top-less lovelies at the till. Cue a baby crying outside the shop, and me realising I didn't have any breast pads in. I had no choice but to shut my eyes and hope no one could see me or the milk that would inevitably start leaking all over my top. After 400 hours, it was my turn, and the stupid bloke at the till started folding my tops up with tissue paper. I smiled. Inside my head I was yelling "TISSUE PAPER! Do I look like the kind of person who needs tissue paper? I have a rip in the crotch of my jeans because they are ten years old and I can't sew, my boobs are about to explode milk all over my once-white-now-grey maternity top and I have porridge in my hair! JUST SHOVE THEM IN THE SODDING BAG!". As it was I kept my mouth shut and stomped back to John Lewis, making myself feel better by growling at every moron who got to the door of a shop and then just stopped, or people who walked too slow, or too fast, or breathed a bit too near me. I was greeted by J careering round corners and scaring the crap out of other children, so we retired for a cup of tea and some lunch in the once-quiet-but-now-my-children-have-arrived-sorry-everyone cafe. I did end up with a few items, from the sections of John Lewis usually frequented by seventy year olds, but I was pleased with my haul. I'm sticking to Internet shopping from now on though.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Children Should Really Come With Subtitles

J, if I'm allowed a small bit of mummy gloating, has very good speech and vocabulary. To erase any karma coming my way from that wee bit of smugness (you could click on this to see my smug post here if I had half a clue how to do it, but I don't, so you'll have to look it up if you've not read it) he has got very good at it because he never stops talking. He yabbers while he's eating, when he's sat in the car waiting for me completely on his own, while he's watching TV, he even blethers in his sleep. Up till very recently, he has had a quite impressive arsenal of words that sound uncannily like expletives. He is not the only toddler to be this way - search 'toddler trying to say frog' on youtube if you'd like a demonstration. Sit, six, and stick, all frequently came out of his mouth, crystal clear, as sh*t, prompting me to loudly correct him for the benefit of the aghast onlookers out in public. I had, however, recently become complacent as his diction improved. Silly me. Apart from the odd episode (my ever so slightly odd first born sometimes decides to talk in gibberish, and makes up his own words- when he finds one he likes, he repeats it a lot - cue him cheerfully shouting "CRAP!" over and over again in the supermarket. He absolutely did not get it from me) we had not had a Swearing At Strangers incident for quite some time. Yesterdays, therefore, was a lovely surprise. Walking home from playgroup, I was congratulating myself (there's the smugness again) on successfully diverting a meltdown because J wanted a soggy, possibly poo covered stick to walk home with and I promised him we would go for a walk in the woods to find a bigger better one later on. A sweet old lady had been travelling slowly in the opposite direction to us and had witnessed the whole debacle. When she reached us, she smiled at my cherubic, innocent toddler, and asked him if he was ok now. He turned his baby blue eyes onto full beam, fluttered his eyelashes and announced loudly "Yes! I'm going for a shit in the woods!".

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Mummy Tourette's

A lovely friend of mine gave birth to a very beautiful daughter yesterday, and it got me thinking about how, as parents, we speak to the uninitiated. The not-yet-parents, but most importantly, the almost-parents. What on earth possesses us all to be such harbingers of doom when we speak to a pregnant person? I know I'm guilty of it. When first time pregnant ladies complain they are tired, why do we not give them a quick pep talk about how it's all worth it, rather than manically screaming "You think you're tired now? You wait till baby is out and then you will NEVER SLEEP AGAIN!" while trying to cram the baby in the fridge and the milk carton in the pushchair.
When I tell people my boys were born 21 months apart and one of them is an insomniac, I use it as an excuse for why I've not brushed my hair and my snot stained jumper is on backwards. If other mums are expecting number two with a close gap, I can't stop myself listing how I don't go out past 5pm anymore, how if anyone mentions a TV programme I have to just nod along like I know what they're talking about because if its not on CBeebies I've definitely not seen it, and how two out of my three meals a day are soggy left overs as I've not got time to make myself anything. 
Are we altogether too British to say what we mean? I have another theory. Yesterday I sat at the dinner table watching M watching J. J was roaring (note I said roaring, not singing) The Grand Old Duke Of York at the top of his lungs, while 'accidentally' flinging bits of his dinner around the room as he marched in his chair. M looked totally enraptured. Every now and again J would stop and ask me what I would like him to sing next, and give me a cheeky grin. M just grinned and grinned at his big brother, and every now and again reached out his pudgy hand to hold mine, or looked imploringly at me because he had some of J's dinner stuck between his eyes. I could have sat there all day, watching my boys. M had had a particularly bad night the night before, and I was working on about two hours sleep. But I couldn't imagine being anywhere else. 
Now how do you even start to explain love like that?
So we don't even try. We just prepare them for the tough bits, like having to watch Postman Sodding Pat at 6am in the morning, who is SO INFURIATINGLY STUPID it puts you in a bad mood for at least the next hour. IF YOU HAVE A BOX OF BATS IN YOUR VAN, YOU HEAR A BANG AND THEN LOTS OF FLUTTERING, DONT OPEN THE VAN TO HAVE A LOOK YOU MASSIVE NUMPTY, OF COURSE THE BATS ARE GOING TO ESCAPE. Jeez. 
And the wonderful bits? The overwhelming, all consuming love? I think its best they have the fun of discovering it all for themselves.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Truth Behind Your Handmade Treasures

If you are a parent, it is likely that at some point your darling little ones have appeared home from nursery/grandmas/playgroup/school with a homemade something to make your heart melt - a Mother's Day card, a handprint picture with cutesy verse written underneath, a clay something or other. If these things take pride of place in your home, treasured because they were made with love, just for you, I suggest you look away now.
I have been part of the process from a few different angles. First off, when teaching three year olds. With the odd exception, your offspring do not skip over to the Mother's Day card  making table exclaiming "gosh I just love mummy so much, I must show her with a card". Oh no. They are usually bribed off the trikes with the promise that they can have first pick of Bike 2 (that's the fastest) when they get back, if they just stick this tissue paper here, finger paint here, come back you've not written your name, colour here, stop drawing power rangers all over that daffodil. All the while the staff are wittering on about how we are making this for mummy, because she is special. Then at home time, we go over why we have made the cards one more time, only to turn our backs and hear a mutter of "this is for my brother, it's a light saber".
Secondly, when my birthday comes around, Husband is usually Not Organised. This year was no different, and last Thursday I got dispatched upstairs so J could make me a 'surprise' card. Cue the following conversation between daddy and J floating up the stairs......
"J, come here and draw a picture on mummy's card. I said come here. No, you hold crayons with your hand not your foot. Fine, just write your name then. J, come here for goodness sake and put something on the card."
Then comes the sound of J grumbling "poo poo poo poo" while scribbling on the card.
"WHAT'S THAT YOU SAID?" roars Husband for my benefit, "YOU LOVE MUMMY? THAT'S NICE" 
Saying all that, the aforementioned card has pride of place on my windowsill. After all, J can't write yet, so no one else knows it says poo.